Development and validation of triarchic psychopathy scales from the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire

Psychol Assess. 2015 Sep;27(3):838-51. doi: 10.1037/pas0000087. Epub 2015 Feb 2.


Psychopathy is conceptualized by the triarchic model as encompassing 3 distinct phenotypic constructs: boldness, meanness, and disinhibition. In the current study, the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ), a normal-range personality measure, was evaluated for representation of these 3 constructs. Consensus ratings were used to identify MPQ items most related to each triarchic (Tri) construct. Scale measures were developed from items indicative of each construct, and scores for these scales were evaluated for convergent and discriminant validity in community (N = 176) and incarcerated samples (N = 240). Across the 2 samples, MPQ-Tri scale scores demonstrated good internal consistencies and relationships with criterion measures of various types consistent with predictions based on the triarchic model. Findings are discussed in terms of their implications for further investigation of the triarchic model constructs in preexisting datasets that include the MPQ, in particular longitudinal and genetically informative datasets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Personality Inventory*
  • Prisoners / psychology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Students / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult